What is Marital Property?

What is Marital Property?

When you marry someone, you pledge to build a life together. Establishing a future together usually includes sharing a home, bank account, and purchasing property. During a marriage, it is great to accumulate these things. However, when you decide to get a divorce, it can be tricky to figure out who gets what. There are different marital property laws in different states.

Marital property refers to the property accumulated together during a marriage. These are usually jointly-titled and belong to both spouses. In the state of California, martial property is considered community property, meaning both spouses own everything equally.

This property includes:

  • Wages earned by either spouse
  • Assets
  • Any debt accrued
  • Any property bought under both names

Any materials acquired before the marriage, given as gifts, or any inheritance is not subject to the community property rules. Those items bill solely to the specified spouse.

During the marriage, both spouses have control over the property. Any changes or alteration made to any of the joint belongings need to be agreed on mutually. In the same vein, a spouse cannot sell or give away property without the consent of their partner.

In the event of a divorce, the community property is divided equitably between the two parties. The judge will split the items so that the spouses receive things that have equal value. For example, because there is no physical way to divide a house, someone will receive the house and the other person will receive assets that equal the value of the house.

Like most rules, there are exceptions. Each marriage is different and has varying circumstances. There are things that can alter the 50/50 division of marital property.

These exceptions include:

  • One spouse abuses their rights over the property
  • One spouse has educational debt (The spouse will be responsible over their own loans in this case)
  • A personal injury settlement or verdict, while shared during the marriage, will only go to the victim after the divorce

Many divorce dealings can be difficult. You want to make sure that you get an equal share of your marital assets. In order to ensure fair proceedings, you need a family law attorney that will work for your best interests. If you or a loved one is going through a divorce, contact our San Bernardino divorce attorney today!


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